I didn't cry the day Monsoon started Kindergarten. I fully expected to be a soggy mess. I waited all day, but the tears just never came.
The morning went nothing like I anticipated, though. The bus was twenty minutes late, and then it passed our house so we had to run down the street to catch it. I got right in my car and drove straight to school, but all the surrounding streets were packed, so I had to park two blocks away. As soon as I stepped out of the car, his bus passed me. I told him I would be waiting when he got off the bus, so what else could I do? I booked it all the way to the school, half of the path being straight up a huge hill. I couldn't feel my legs by the time I got to him, but he was just stepping onto the sidewalk. I was just in time. We walked to his room together, holding hands, and when we got there, his eyes lit up and he was ready to begin his new adventure. Such a big boy.
I still didn't cry. Probably when I could feel my legs again, I'll be able to cry, I thought. A handful of people called or texted to see how I was doing (funny, they knew I was the one the worry about, not the boy). I couldn't believe it myself, but I was completely fine. Maybe I had grown and matured, too. Maybe I could enjoy the sweetness of this day, rather than finding it just a tad bitter.
Today, I was out running errands and happened to drive by his old preschool. The one he went to for 2 1/2 years; the one he started when he was barely three.
As I drove by, a memory drifted through my head of a little boy with baby-fine hair, ears too big for his head, wearing his tiny navy winter coat that went all the way down to his knees, holding my hand as we walked into that school. I saw his big eyes taking in everything new, saw his little feet pattering down the hall, trying to keep up with my pace. I felt his gentle kiss on my cheek, his short chubby arms around my neck... I heard him squeal, "Mommy!!" in his three year old voice and remembered how he would say, "I Yike school," when he couldn't make the L sound.
So this is how it happened. This is how it finally hit me, and I cried all the way home.
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